Filipinos’ Success Stories:
Kaya Ko; Kaya Mo!
If I can; You surely can!
What was your dream job as a child?
As a child, I really didn’t bother with what I wanted as my dream job. All I knew is that entrepreneurship runs through my blood. I was always easy-going and optimistic of what will happen ahead of me.
I always saw my mom and dad working hard for the business to accommodate our needs and wants in life and it also made me feel that I would also want to have a family of my own to cherish and take care of. With that in mind, I envisioned creating and building a company where my employees would consider us their second family because of our family-like work ethics. This is one of the reasons why I named my company Quen’s Tea and Juice, after my daughter, Quenzelle.
What is your career path like?
The experiences that I have been through are like a puzzle. In the beginning, you’re not quite sure what you have but as the bigger picture begins to form, all of the pieces come together and fit each other perfectly, culminating in where I am today.
It started when my Mom was hospitalized and ended up having financial problems. I had to juggle my studies and work part-time. Being young and naïve at that time, I thought I could help pay my Mom’s hospital bills. But then, I had to drop my studies and work harder instead to earn more money. I learned to manage my time, money and energy.
I worked as a barista in one of the best coffee company chains in the Philippines, where I realized that I love what I’m doing and should pursue it further.
I worked as a Marketing Assistant with the best Marketing director who not only taught me marketing strategies, but how to be confident with who I am.
My favorite job was when I worked at My Uncle Jimmy Topacio and Aunt Rebecca Topacio’s franchising company Silver Ace in the Philippines. They taught me how to be tough in this kind of industry. I have seen my potential by working with them from creating concept, dealing with clientele and to contract signing.
And now, opening our first store in the middle of a pandemic, it is tough but with the support of our fellow Pinoy and Grande Prairians, we are surviving and are still continuously hitting our goals.
There were ups and down but at the end of the day, my career path was in God’s plan and everything fell into its destined place.
What goal did you have in mind, and how did things fall into place?
Living three years in Canada made me realize that there is something that is missing that most people here look for, and that is an authentic experience of Asian Fusion food and beverages. Having a taste for the best Asian flavors, we decided to bring an Authentic Asian Fusion experience for everyone in Grande Prairie. We came up with an idea where I should introduce “Milk Tea” in Canada but this time the taste of Canada just like the well known “Iced Cappuccino of Tim Horton’s”. We created an Authentic Taiwanese experience that was made to suit our Filipino and Canadian market. This includes an array of specialty beverages including their famous Bubble Tea, which comes in different flavors that everyone loves and are crazy for.
We built a company where many fellow Filipinos would confidently take pride in the products that we make and serve not only to Filipinos but others who live in Canada as well.
What struggles did you have to go through?
I was struggling with the pressures, obligations and expectations of being a home maker, a Mom to my daughter, and as a young entrepreneur where I cannot fit in all the things that I have and need to do within 24 hours. I realized that my daughter would not remain a kid forever and I wanted to spend time with her during her childhood.
I have struggled mostly with my post-partum depression. Every time I look at my baby without my Mom beside me to guide me through the process of having my first baby I always think, “Can I raise her well? Can I give her the future that she deserves?” Without a job to help my husband who had to work in -50 degree weather, I want to provide a better living situation for them. There were so many questions on my mind. I turned all the negative encounters into positive ones during my pregnancy, and while I was on maternity leave that was the time that I created a business plan and it turned out well. I am very blessed to have my dad, Aser Bass, here with us in Canada. He is one of my pillars of support, helping me get through every day together with my family.
What schooling did you have to take?
I was not able to finish College in the Philippines and I didn’t even have the chance to get into High School in Canada, but with a burning amount of passion and dedication, I get to follow my dreams and will soon build an empire. I was trained by the best in Taiwan for my milk tea certification. I want people to know that getting a degree will make you successful, but not getting a degree is okay too, both will make you equally successful, maybe more than you expect. With enough hard work, dedication and passion, you’ll be able to meet and achieve your goals! Kaya ko, kaya mo!
When did you decide to come to Canada?
It was 2017 when I migrated to Canada to be with my husband. In the span of three years, we built our home in Grande Prairie. Quenzelle came into our lives and she is our inspiration to work hard every day.
What is your advice to your younger self?
Young Azelle, your own happiness reflects what you’re doing and the important part is what you do to achieve that happiness. Create your own environment, put yourself in places that will help you grow, and not suppress your growth. To all the miserable things that will come into your life, use those as fuel to motivate you to do better in life. Keep inspiring people and try to help others in any way that you can. Remember to always listen to your inner self because God is guiding you and He has a purpose.